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E pluribus unum


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New York State Motto

Motto and Nickname

The New York State Motto
The New York motto was adopted in 1778 is expressed in Latin as "Excelsior!" which means:

"Ever Upward!"

The Meaning of the New York State Motto
The meaning of this famous motto reflects the attitude and hopes of the people of New York following the outbreak of the War of Independence (17751783). The Latin word "Excelsior!" also has the meaning of "higher", "superior" or "lordly", although it is commonly translated as "Ever Upward." These sentiments of the people of New York are emphasized on the flag and seal which displays the figure of Liberty whose foot treads upon a crown that represents freedom from the British monarchy.

"Ever Upward!"


The New York State Nickname
The New York Motto is complimented by a less formal, popular New York nickname which, combined with the motto, are highly descriptive of the people, the geography and the history of the state. The names used as nicknames are:

New York State Nickname List
Official Nickname: Empire State
The Knickerbocker State
The Excelsior State

George Washington


The Origin and Meaning of the New York Nicknames
The American citizens who live in, or who come from New York, are referred to as New Yorkers. The history, origin and meaning of each of the nicknames are as follows:

The Empire State
The official nickname of the Empire State was in use as early as 1819 and was intended to denote intentions of the New Yorkers to become both culturally distinct and to build a large-scale business enterprise. The name became extremely popular and gave rise to the name of Manhattan's Empire State Building, which opened in 1931. The world famous Empire State Building was the world's tallest skyscraper for many years.

The Knickerbocker State
The Knickerbocker nickname is a reference to the early Dutch colonists who wore breeches called Knickerbockers that were gathered and banded just below the knee. A book called the 'History of New York' written by Washington Irving in 1809, under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, popularized the term.

The Excelsior State
The meaning of the Excelsior nickname is described in respect of the New York motto.


The Constitution of New York
The constitution of New York establishes the basic rights of its citizens and echoes the words and sentiments of the motto. The preamble (opening) of the constitution is as follows:

"We The People of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our Freedom, in order to secure its blessings, DO ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION."

Preamble of the Constitution of New York


New York State Motto for Kids

Learn the meaning of the motto for kids
"Ever Upward!" motto
Find the meaning of the Motto and nickname
Meaning, History and Origin of the motto for kids
Meaning, origin and history of the nickname
Interesting facts, info and picture of the flag
Official Nickname "Empire State"
Meaning of the motto and nickname for schools, kids and children

Abraham Lincoln

New York State Motto and Nickname for Kids

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